Screening Scheme Description

DNA test - SLEM
Spongiform LeucoEncephaloMyelopathy

Border Terrier

Details about the disease

SLEM (Spongiform LeucoEncephaloMyelopathy) or Shaking Puppy Syndrome (SPS) is a relatively new condition associated with the central nervous system which usually affects puppies at around two weeks old, when they begin to make attempts to walk. Occasionally some puppies have started to shake at a later age of about 10 weeks old.

Clinical signs

Clinical signs include severe tremors, mainly in the hindquarters, which are seen as an uncoordinated side-to-side movement of the rear end, appearing as an excessive, uncoordinated wagging of the tail and body. These tremors cease when the puppy sleeps. Affected pups have difficulty feeding and often grow slowly. In many cases they are put to sleep because of welfare concerns but a few have recovered with careful nursing and appear to be relatively normal as adults.

How it is inherited

The disease is described as an autosomal recessive condition. This means that a dog must inherit two copies of an abnormal gene (one from its mother and one from its father) before its health is affected. A dog that inherits only one copy of the abnormal gene (from its mother or its father) will have no signs of the disease, but will be a carrier and may pass the gene on to any offspring.

Which laboratories test for this condition?

A list of laboratories and DNA tests can be found at the following link

How to responsibly breed from your DNA tested dog

If, once your dog is DNA tested, you would like to find out what their DNA test results mean, or how to select the right mate to avoid producing affected puppies, then please read our breeding advice and information on the following link

How to find out if a potential mate has been DNA tested

The Kennel Club’s “Health Test Results Finder” allows you to find the results of DNA tests carried out as part of official Kennel Club DNA testing schemes for any dog on the Kennel Club’s breed register. To access this free health tool, please follow this link


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